Saturday, April 25, 2009

End of the Century

I'm in Minneapolis today. I'm in town for my friend Mike's wedding and the related Gaintoberfests that will be occurring. I'm in the Espresso Royale coffeehouse in Dinkytown (same table, in the back, by the mirror). They're playing the Ramones a I remember being here the day Joey Ramone died in 2001. All day long they played the Ramones box set. It was a sunny day and I was in the middle of my tenure at the University of Minnesota. Despite my sadness over the death of one the greatest rock singers ever, I remember feeling inspired and connected to the universe around me. Yeah it sounds corny but it happened. I had to teach a class that day and both before and after class, I came in here for coffee.

The last song I heard before I left for class and the first song I heard when I got back was Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio? I loved that song. I loved it not for its nostalgia for a better time for radio (the year the song was released - 1980 - was actually the peak year for radio, not the late 50s/early 60s period the song celebrates). I loved that song for the aggressive guitars and complex song structure, Joey's perfect vocals, and the stellar production by murderer Phil Spector (listen to the Spector-produced album End of the Century - a lot of Ramones fans hate it and Phil did pull a gun on the band a few times during production but its Spector's masterpiece.) Oh and I loved it for one of the best couplets ever (written by Joey):

It's the end, the end of the seventies
It's the end, the end of the century

Logically, it doesn't make sense. In every other way, it explains everything.

(Have a good wedding Mike. I'll be in the back thinking about which, if any, story to tell during toast time - should it be the one about the homeless guy at In-and-Out Burger? Or the one about the lost weekend in Vegas? Or how we cowrote the greatest unfilmed screenplay ever?)

I'm finished with my latte. My parking meter will expire soon. Better go.

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